Sample Overload

Yesterday I carved out a tiny chunk of time to tackle my bathroom (… mostly. I still need to scrub the toilet, shower, and floor.). Underneath the sink had turned into a wasteland of products, shoved and packed in haphazardly over the last few months. I hate my bathroom, and I hate the storage/lack thereof. The problem with no good storage? Sixteen different boxes all full of random things that I don’t use because I don’t know they exist.

I’ve stopped all of my beauty box subscriptions, because I don’t have much money to spare and when I do have a bit of extra cash, I want to spend it on something I specifically need, rather than a gamble. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my subscriptions, but they’re a luxury that isn’t in line with our household at the moment. Still, I have TONS of samples accumulated from months of beauty boxes, and a few deliveries from my sister.

photo 1

I decided to put all of my makeup into a big bin — regular stuff, samples, and the stuff from the postpartum care package Kay sent me. I’m hoping that I can weed out the stuff I use on a regular basis and move it into a smaller bag, while still keeping the rest of it available for special occasions! I’m not wearing much makeup lately — the tinted moisturizer and powder are about it, when I get around to wearing makeup — so it might take awhile to sort through.

photo 2

As for the samples, I dumped ’em all in another box. But I’m not sure how to go about getting through them. There are a few I know I want to use at specific times, like the nail decals for my upcoming stint as a bridesmaid, but other than that they’re a huge overwhelming pile of tiny packets and vials.

All I can think of is grabbing one sample at random, maybe once a week or so, and testing it out, but if you guys have any better ideas I’d love to hear them!

Beauty Resolutions

Hi! I disappeared again. My baby stopped sleeping at night so I started drinking a lot of coffee and then our lactation consultant pointed out that the caffeine was probably keeping her up, so I spent last week super tired with just one coffee a day and a desperate hope that M would go back to her magical sleeping through the night status.

I’m a little more well-rested now and Matt’s mom is in town, and right now is my very first time with the house to myself without the baby as a result! (I’m drafting this Saturday afternoon.) So I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on some blogging, but it did feel kind of nice to unplug, albeit accidentally, for the better part of a week.

Other things I had time for today: trying out a beauty challenge. My sister is running this really cool giveaway series on her blog. Every week she’s putting out a beauty challenge and all those who take part are eligible for prizes! I think I’d try the challenges regardless of prizes because getting myself ready in the morning used to be a big self-care thing, and now I’m sort of down to a basic ‘brush my teeth and hope I can fix my bangs at some point during the day’ routine. If I leave the house I try to put on powder and blush, but that’s about it. I miss taking some extra time to feel pretty.

So! I really wanted to try out her challenges to make that extra time for myself, even if it’s just once a week. The first challenge was trying a new eyeliner look. I’m generally awful with eyeliner so I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything fancy — my new look is just me, wearing eyeliner for the first time since November.

Eyeliner! And a tiny floating cat, if you look to the left side of the photo. I’m certainly no beauty guru. I slapped this on and then realized it looked silly and rubbed at it with my fingers until it blended in a bit better. It’s probably gonna be sliding down my face in a matter of hours. But I had an extra five minutes to myself while the baby was in very capable hands, and I appreciated those five minutes very much.

June TopBox

For those who haven’t read it, my sister writes a beauty/cosmetics blog, The Scenic Route, where she writes about beauty box subscriptions amongst other things. She also lives in civilization, a.k.a. Ottawa, which means she gets her TopBoxes before me… so I already knew what I was getting for June a few days before my box finally made it up north. 😉


I’m really glad I went with the original box rather than Privé! I’ve been reluctant to go with original after a disappointing spread a few months ago, but none of the options this month really struck my fancy (an eyeshadow palette box from Yaby Cosmetics, a Father’s Day box [my husband isn’t really the cosmetic products type], or a box literally full of wrinkle cream from Estee Lauder). I like makeup samples more than anything so I’m happy with this one!

June TopBox Mascara Eyelash Curler

First up — Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics Fairly Lashes Mascara. What is a jelly pong pong anyway?! This is supposed to make one’s eyelashes ‘flutter and flap.’ I didn’t really notice that but it seems to be a nice mascara!

Belvada Cosmetics mini eyelash curler — I usually use an old-school metal curler, when I use them, because I do it ’80s style and heat it up with my blowdryer to make it work better (I have yet to burn my face or burn my eyelashes off, but for those living in this decade, they do make curlers that heat themselves). I like that this one is tiny because I’d probably use it for travel — if I would be allowed to take it on a plane. It worked well.

June TopBox Sugarbomb

The Benefit Sugarbomb gloss seemed nice when I opened it up. I’m not really a lipstick person — I feel weird wearing it still — so if I do lip products they’re usually light glosses like this. On me it’s a light, shimmery colour.

June TopBox Pari Cubes

I’m not a huge fan of loose powders, like the Pari Beauty Colour Cubes, namely because I am a big messy klutz and my makeup drawer is already contaminated with a black eyeshadow that exploded (awesome). I think I’ve seen these in mall kiosks. They are really quite sparkly once they’re on!

November 2012 TOPBOX Review

Last month, TOPBOX gave me the option to select eco-friendly packaging for my November delivery, so I did! Everything was shipped in the same cardboard tube as last time, but it was a bit more no-frills, without the patterned paper on the outside, and with less tissue paper and ‘fluff’ on the inside.

It was a pretty good haul, if you consider the time of year. All of the products seemed like they would be put to good use over the glitzy holiday season (I’m not very glitzy, but I would be if I had the opportunity!).

I have tried China Glaze polish before (in my Luxe Box fall package, actually — funny how the samples repeat) and I like it. It has great coverage and lasts forever. The one I received is called I Herd That (it’s from the Safari Collection) and I immediately put it on my toes. I love gold-toned polish, and this one is really, really sparkly. It also only took two coats to make it solid enough for my liking! I found a review with some close-up photos of it here, if you’re interested. It’s not really a time for open-toed shoes around here, but I think it’d be an awesome polish for fingernails at a Christmas party.

There was a decently-sized sample of Vera Wang’s Lovestruck Floral Rush. I think one of my first Luxe Box packages included the same perfume, in a smaller size. I’m not much on wearing perfume — I go to too many scent-free public places for my job to feel comfortable with it — but again, given that the holidays are a time for parties and dressing up, perfume fits in perfectly. It will, however, likely end up in my drawer full of perfume samples.

Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara has intrigued me for a while now. I forgot to try it out and accidentally used my regular mascara instead, but rest assured, I will be checking it out ASAP!

Pari Beauty’s lip paint is a new product. I don’t often wear red lipstick but hey! Christmas! It is a true red, I think, with no weird undertones, and it even looked okay on my super-pale self. It’s a stain, and it does that well — I tried it on just for fun and wiped it off right away, and the colour was already on there pretty good. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to wear lipstick! 🙂

So, although a few of the samples were kind of repeats from other beauty boxes, I think that’s to be expected a bit. I was happy with November’s TOPBOX!

Luxe Box: Fall Edition, September 2012

I have to admit, I was a bit iffy on the switch to sending Luxe Boxes quarterly instead of monthly. I got my Fall Edition box last week, though, and I was impressed!

I had to laugh when Matt told me I got “a box from Members Only.” It wasn’t a jacket.

The branding itself is quite nice. Everything is made from high-quality papers, and packaged elegantly. I received four full-sized products, and a few products that were just launching.

First up was the Eyeko skinny liquid liner. I’m not really a liquid eyeliner person because I find it messy and hard to use. This stuff wasn’t too bad–my left eye looked a bit rough when I tried it, so I still need practice, but it went on really smoothly and stayed put.

The No Bleeding Lips secret lip liner is supposed to be a universal liner that matches any lip colour. I never wear lipstick, but I’m going to try it out during the wedding!

Of course, it being Luxe Box, I got wrinkle cream. The B. Kamins Nia-Stem Eye Cream KX is actually supposed to stop the formation of future wrinkles, though, so that’s not a bad thing.

My Luxe Boxes usually have something for damaged hair included, and this time around, it was Kerastase Elixir Ultime with Immortal Moringa, which sounds like a bunch of made-up words. It smelled good, and had a silky, oily kind of texture that reminded me of when my aunt used to do V05 Hot Oil treatments on us when we were kids. I have no idea if it did anything for my hair, though — it’s so out of control already, even though I recently got it cut, so I’ve been in ponytail-land for the last few weeks.

There were two nail polishes, which made me happy! The Bourjois Paris mini enamel is a really pretty, shimmery colour, and I can’t wait to try the China Glaze out.

They sent along a Loose Button branded exfoliating pad, which is probably something I will use often, coming into the dry-skin days of winter.

Like I said, it was a pretty good haul! I honestly have no idea when my next box is coming, at this point, but I think I’ll stick with it for awhile.